Most of us are familiar with the need to achieve immunization against tetanus (“lockjaw”) and diphtheria. Fewer are familiar with the need to immunize against pertussis (“whooping cough”). Boostrix is a vaccine used to achieve immunity against all three. Until recently, there had not been a vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) against pertussis intended for use in elders (ages 65 years and older). On July 8, 2011, the FDA approved Boostrix for use in this population of seniors.
Whooping cough is not a trivial disease. It is a highly communicable infectious disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. It is transmitted by respiratory secretions or large droplets from the respiratory tract of an infected person. In children, whooping cough is typified by Read more »
Sichuan earthquake rescue workers carrying an injured person. In light of the widespread media coverage of natural disasters, such as the earthquake in Haiti and the tsunami in Japan, the public and medical professionals are aware of the anticipated immediate medical needs in these kinds of emergencies. However, it is less well known that after the initial management of life- and limb-threatening injuries, there may be an enormous need to provide care to persons with chronic illnesses. This is because they are displaced from their homes, become exposed to adverse environmental and socioeconomic hardships, lose access to healthcare, are deprived of their sources of medications, and so forth.
Some of my colleagues were allowed to enter Japan after the tsunami, and their observations agree with this assessment, which was also confirmed in a recent paper, “Chronic health needs immediately after natural disasters in middle-income countries: the case of the 2008 Sichuan, China earthquake,” authored by Emily Chan and Jackie Kim (Eur J Emerg Med 2011;18:111-114). The authors considered physical, social and public health preparedness. Read more »
Vaccines have saved more lives than any other medical intervention in history. They are incredibly safe and effective and are well-tolerated by most people. In the US, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) carefully reviews all reports of adverse reactions that could be associated with vaccines. Over decades of review, they have found that the rate of potential severe reactions is so low that they cannot even calculate a risk.
There are many vaccines available for babies, children, and adults. Please check these vaccine schedules to make sure that you and your family are fully protected from vaccine-preventable diseases. (Or you can ask your doctor/nurse to review your vaccine needs with you in person.)
Since mainstream media is feeding parents a constant stream of health information that is often inaccurate and poorly vetted (just ask Gary Schwitzer), I thought it would be helpful to create a new series at Better Health: Mythbusters for Moms. Now, I know that moms aren’t the only ones who will benefit from “straight talk” from healthcare professionals, but the alliteration was simply irresistible.
Our first guest of the series is Dr. Rahul Parikh. Rahul is a board-certified pediatrician who works at Kaiser Permanente’s Walnut Creek Medical Center in California. Prior to becoming a pediatrician, Rahul completed a degree in molecular biology at UC Berkeley, and his medical degree at Tufts in Boston.
Online, Rahul is perhaps best known for his columns, featured at Salon.com. There he takes a critical look at media misinformation about health and science, and has spoken out against misleading content promoted by Oprah Winfrey and the Huffington Post.
You may listen to an audiocast of our conversation here (or read a short transcript below):
We’ve all heard about the importance of getting our flu shots this season, but did you know that there are 10 vaccines commonly recommended for adults? I spoke with Dave Lucas at ABC News about the low rates of adult vaccinations in the US, and encouraged people to ask their doctors if they’re up to date with their vaccinations.
It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…
I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…
I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…
When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…
I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…